lördag 31 juli 2021

Summer B Movie Madness With Daniel: It Lives Inside

Every summer, i especially take some time to watch independent horror films. I have always had a tradition, that summer time match so well with low budget horror films, no matter if we are talking about grindhouse horror, slasher films, creature horror, i welcome all genres. One of the reasons why i have such a big passion for independent horror, is that these films actually create something interesting, compared to big budget CGI effect films. They have a limited budget that makes their job a little bit more difficult ( not saying that big budget films are difficult to make, but at least they have a bigger budget to spend than independent horror ), so i really respect independent horror directors who try and make films with mostly practical effects. Speaking of CGI effects, they do show up in some scenes in some independent horror films, depending on what kind of story that´s being told, and CGI effects may be included for a certain reason. And i am ok with that, as long as the CGI effects are not too bad. Unfortunately, some independent horror films rely too much on CGI effects, and try and make their films scary, when the bad CGI effects cause more damage instead. A perfect example of this is the 2019 horror film Demon Eye ( i have written a review of this film in my blog, feel welcome to check it out ). Demon Eye does have an interesting story, and this film could have been good, if the right elements were used correctly. The downfall for Demon Eye are the horrible CGI effects, and those who know me personally know that i can accept bad CGI, if it´s done with passion. But there is no passion in Demon Eye, they wasted a potential good film idea. I can not recommend Demon Eye, but i will say this, if anyone wanted to remake a film, then i do believe that this film could possibly turn out to be a great choice. I was sitting down recently and going through a list of B movies that are avaible to check out for free on YouTube, and i came across a film called It Lives Inside. Not knowing anything about this film, i decided to check it out and review this film to my segment Summer B Movie Madness With Daniel. Is this a fun independent horror film that is surprisingly good, or is this just as bad as Coolio´s album El Cool Magnifico from 2002?

The Man ( Rett Terrell ) is injured, and having problems with his relationship with his partner The Woman ( Alissa Ford ), and they have a baby called Kaleb. Problems within their relationship seems to be getting even worse, when she discover that Kaleb have bruises on his body, and confront her partner about it. He have no idea what happened to Kaleb, and things are about to get even worse when he starts to drink more, as he starts to believe he is seeing dark shadows.

Going into a film such as It Lives Inside, i think it´s important not to hold too high expectations. This is a low budget horror film that does not deliver something fresh, or original. I would say that this film does have an interesting plot, but i have to be honest. This is one of the most boring horror films i have seen in quite some time. It takes a very long time until something happens, and when it finally does, you won´t feel that interested anymore. One of the biggest issues i have is actually lead actor Rett Terrell. This is the first film i have seen him acting in so far, even if i noticed on IMDB that he have done several films in the past. Unfortunately, he is not a good lead actor in It Lives Inside. He does not show much emotions at all, or you don´t feel engaged in his character. One of the few actors that at least make some kind of effort, is actress Alissa Ford as the partner to the lead character. Even if she does not give a strong performance, she does a better job portraying her character than actor Rett Terrell. So is there anything positive to say about It Lives Inside at all? Very few details, such as when the lead character believe he is seeing shadows. Interesting idea, but the bad CGI effects makes those scenes feel laughable instead. The ending of the film may actually be the best part of the film, that´s actually alright. It Lives Inside does not even try to be a good horror film, they just make everything as easy as possible. If it wasn´t for actress Alissa Ford, i have a feeling this film would have gotten my lowest grade. Directors Sean Bingham and Jeff Hall ( they needed two directors two make this film? ) could have made a good horror film with the plot for It Lives Inside, but they make absolutely no effort to make this film effective in any way. If you got nothing to watch, go to the YouTube channel Watch Movies Now! and have a look around. I am pretty sure you can find a better film to watch than It Lives Inside.

Rating: DD

If you still want to watch It Lives Inside on the YouTube Channel Watch Movies Now!, here is the link to see this film:


fredag 30 juli 2021


I remember back in 1992, i was at the rental store, checking out VHS films ( as i did every weekend basically, i loved going through VHS releases ). I was 15 years old, and so happy that i could rent any violent films i wanted, since they had a 15 years age limit to horror, thriller and action films. This was during the late autumn, and i was talking a lot to one of the VHS rental store owners called Micke. I remember he was opening a box of new arrived horror films, as he said:- These ones are going to be rented out in no time. Since he could see how happy i was that i could rent any film i wanted, he picked out a couple of titles that might be in my interest. One of the films was Stone Cold, a biker action film with Brian Bosworth. I also remember that he picked out a horror film called Puppet Master 2, that turned out to be a great choice. The third film was a film called Into The Sun, an action film with actor Michael Paré ( this was the first time i have seen his name on a VHS cover ). So i rented these three, just to see if any of them were any good. It turned out that Stone Cold was a lot of fun, just the way i like it. A really fun action film, with a lot of big guns, naked women and funny cheesy dialogue. Puppet Master 2 turned out to be fun as well, as a simple puppet killer film. The classic story of André Toulon and his puppets, still worked in this sequel, that included some nice kills. Into The Sun turned out to be an entertaining action film, maybe not on the same level as Stone Cold, but still fun enough. Especially thanks to actor Michael Paré, you could see he had a charming style in acting. I have seen at least 8 films since Into The Sun with Michael, and i especially remember a film called BloodRayne ( based on the video game ) from director Uwe Boll ( the only man who can make films based on video games correctly, right? ). It was fun seeing him in a film like this, considering that this film also have actors such as Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriquez, Kristanna Loken, Meat Loaf, Billy Zane and Udo Kier. If you enjoy sci fi action films with fun dialogue, pick up the 2005 film BloodRayne on DVD. I found myself going through a list of VOD films, and i came across a Michael Paré film called Painkiller. I knew nothing about the plot, but the poster looked like fun. An independent action film that seems inspired by Death Wish, is this a film better than i expected, or should you stay away from Painkiller?

Bill Johnson ( Bill Obest Jr. ) is a radio host for a show, where he let listeners call in to talk about their loved ones, or drug problems in general, how easy it is for people to use dangerous medicines. Bill lost his beloved daughter in an overdose, and he is in pain, every single day. He can´t bring his daughter back, but he can make sure that people who should be punished, will pay their prize. Bill dresses up in a mask as the vigilante Six Shooter, who execute pharmaceutical CEO´s, pill-pushing doctors and street dealers as well. The longer Six Shooter end these people´s lives, can he really help society, or is he just causing more damage?

I did not have any high expectations at all on Painkiller, and this is why i am pleasantly surprised that this film is actually better than i expected. One of the biggest reason of why this film manage to work, is the combination of a revenge story and the pharmaceutical industry issues that are brought up in the plot. I may have seen something similar in the past, but i actually think this is a great plot that feels really relevant in today´s society. There are too many dangerous medicines out there, that people actually are killing themselves with. Pills that they can get their hands on through certain doctor´s or people who sell these pills. And this is a worldwide problem, that never seems to stop. The fact that this film actually manage to show this problem, while throwing in some inspiration from films such as The Purge, is a clever idea. I think it is good that an action film on a limited budget, tries to do a different approach on the medical issues of society. Legendary actor Michael Paré as Doctor Alan Rhodes deliver a performance that matches well with the story. The strongest acting performance comes without a doubt from actor Bill Obest Jr. ( who i reviewed recently in the independent horror film The Parish ) as the radio host Bill Johnson. This specific character is especially the reason why Painkiller is an effective revenge story. Imagine being in his shoes, where drugs killed his daughter, how do you go on with life after that? Can you find comfort to go on, or is it impossible? There are some issues surrounding the medical industry , that comes up through out the film, where you might begin to think, how we could handle this in a different way, and actually help people instead. That does not mean i think the revenge killer is doing something right, but you can understand why he kills people that he have chosen. Each person have done something terrible in society, and they need to pay for their sins. Director Mark Savage is a well known name in the independent film industry, who i especially remember from his film Purgatory Road. I feel that Mark have managed to balance this film in a solid way, with such an important message about the medical problems in society. With a good cast, and a story that does have something important to say, Painkiller is a wake up call for everyone, that we need to do something about dangerous pills in society. Definetely worth a watch, especially if you appreciate independent films that are trying to be a bit more serious, Painkiller have no problem getting an important message out.

Rating: DDD

The Arbors

I have been asked by different people, how is it living in Sweden? I would say that it is very quite here. You see, swedes love to hide in their homes, drink coffee all day long, and if someone unexpected shows up, they arm themselves with a crossbow weapon, or an axe, because you never know if it could be a Norwegian ( we never trust anyone from Norway, that is the basic rule here in Sweden ). So what if it is just the mailman delivering your letters? Usually, the swede stands behind the door with their crossbow, and wait for the letters to be dropped down their mailbox. And if they are suspicious about one specific letter, they might shoot the mailman. I realize that this might seem barbaric, but trust me, Swedish people are not as dangerous as we might seem. Usually we will run out naked on the highway, picking flowers, sing Swedish folk songs, and hope to see a lot of maskrosor ( the favourite flowers in every Swedish home, every house have tons of them, in every room ). So yes, i do believe swedes are very charming people. But i do believe we could learn something from Denmark, and that is that the Danish have a wonderful potatoes marathon called Kartoffellob. The idea behind this marathon race, is that you run naked on the beach, with a sack of potatoes, and run as fast as you can, and when you can´t run anymore and fall to the beach, you won the race. Not the first one that falls of course, you have to try and pass everyone. This is the best marathon race ever created, and proves why Danish people are some of the most intelligent humans ever created. So well done Denmark, you always come up with brilliant ideas. Since it is still summertime in Sweden, and im planning to enjoy some films, while tasting some wonderful Hell Or High Water Rum, i thought it would be nice to check out an independent horror film that i have not seen so far, and i came across a film called The Arbors on VOD. The poster looked really cool, and the plot seemed interesting as well. Is this a must watch this summer, or is The Arbors not as good as i was hoping it would be?

Ethan Daunes ( Drew Matthews ) live a very quite life in a small Southern town, working as an locksmith and is living by himself. The only close relationship he have is with his younger brother Shane Daunes ( Ryan Davenport ). One night as he is driving home from a birthday party, Ethan discover a road-killed deer with a strange creature inside. Ethan bring the spider-crustacean hybrid-looking monster to his home. However, the creature escape, but not before biting Ethan. When a string of deaths begings to plague the town, Ethan suspects the monster may be to blame.

When ever i find a film that feels a bit different than most independent horror releases, i feel pleased. And this is exactly how i felt watching The Arbors, since this is definetely a different film, than most films in this genre. To be able to make a film like this work, you have to have a plot that feels interesting, and make sure that the twist feels solid enough to work. Even if this film does have a few issues, i still feel that The Arbors is trying to go in another direction, and i really appreciate that. Let´s talk about the acting for a bit. This is where i feel we have a very divided acting, that some actors deliver a performanc that works, while some feel less engaged into their characters. Lead actor Drew Matthews ( who i especially remember from the really good TV series Mr. Mercedes, i wish he could have been in more episodes ) as the mysterious character Ethan Daunes, is seriously the best character in this film. Ethan is a very lonesome man, and you don´t really know if he have mental problems, or if he is actually seeing this creature. I feel that Drew manage to bring out a performance that match really well with the character, and he seems to have found a balance to portrait a man, who barely have any friends, and live a very lonesome life. This is a really good character to have as the lead character, since it makes the film far more interesting. I know that some people have critizied the CGI effects, and i can understand why. The creature effects may have some issues, but i see no bigger issues with the effects. I think the creature design of a spider looking creature, actually works pretty good. This is a horror film that takes it´s time to build up tension, so if you have no patience to wait for revealing details, this is not the film for you. But i actually appreciate this film, not relying on a lot of blood, and focuses more on the mystery surrounding Ethan. Director Clayton Witmer have made a very interesting directorial debut full feature film, wich proves that he may be one of the most interesting directors to look forward to, if he continue to make interesting films such as The Arbors. If you are a fan of independent horror films, you should check out The Arbors. Definetely one of the more odd films i have seen this summer, and this is why i appreciate this film, finally something different to experience in independent cinema.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 29 juli 2021

Tom Clancy´s Without Remorse

I remember back in the early 90´s, when my grandfather gave me a book by author Tom Clancy. The title of the book was Patriot Games. I knew about author Tom Clancy from our local library, and i did see the film The Hunt From Red October, based on the novel of author Tom Clancy. But the book that my grandfather gave me, was going to be released into a film with legendary actor Harrison Ford. I think he knew that i would be interested in this novel, since the main character Jack Ryan seemed to be the kind of hero that i loved in films, so he definetely knew what kind of books i enjoyed. The novel Patriot Games tells the story of history teacher Jack Ryan, who intervenes a kidnapping attempt on the Prince and Princess of Wales and their infant son at the Mall of London. Jack incapacitating one of the attackers, Sean Miller, and killing the other, John Michael McRory. Ryan is shot in the shoulder, while Sean Miller is arrested. While recovering from his wounds, Ryan is honored by the British government and is knighted. Meanwhile, Sean Miller manage to escape while he is being transported to a maximum security prison in the Isle Of Wright, as he vows revenge on Ryan. Even if it was a long time ago i read this book, i remember that i thought it was really good, and especially the character of Jack Ryan. I did see the film adaptation, also called Patriot Games, with legendary actor Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan. Even if this film turns 30 years old next year, Patriot Games from 1992 is one of those classic 90´s films that will continue to entertain audiences. I did read that author Tom Clancy was not pleased with the film adaptation of Patriot Games, for a number of reasons. I still think the film turned out to be great, so i accept that Tom had his own opinions, we have to be able to speak out how we feel. Tom Clancy continued releasing more novels, and i only read Patriot Games. There are several films based on Tom Clancy´s novels, and we have a new film adaptation from the novel Without Remorse. I have no idea if the book is good, but i did became curious to see the film adaptation, when i read that actor Michael B. Jordan ( from the really good 2013 drama Fruitvale Station, and the Creed films of course ) was cast as the lead actor. Considering that he have been really good in both Creed films as well, seeing him in an action film would be interesting. Is this one of the best film adaptations from a Tom Clancy novel so far, or is Without Remorse a proof that this genre is no longer as interesting as it used to be?

In Aleppo, a team of US Navy SEALs, including Senior Chief John Kelly ( Michael B. Jordan ), rescue a CIA operative taken hostage by a suspected pro-Assad paramilitary group. The situation escalates as the SEALs discover that the captors are actually Russian. Three months later, several members of the SEALs team are killed by Russian FSB operatives. One night John´s wife Pam Kelly ( Lauren London ) is killed as well, including their baby ( who was still in her belly ). John is shot down but manage to survive. His world have now fallen apart, with his family murdered. He only have one thing on his mind, hunt down the responsible and make sure they pay the prize.

If you enjoyed the 90´s films Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger with legendary actor Harrison Ford, i have some good news for you. Tom Clancy´s Without Remorse feels like an old school action film, that have all the right elements to make it a fun ride. You can feel the Tom Clancy atmosphere in this film, and you have all the classic ingredients that you recognize from previous films. Of course, this film is a bit more updated into the world today, and that is actually good. The plot itself is in no way original, or refreshing, but since since we are talking about a film based on a novel of author Tom Clancy, you want that classic formula that worked in the films of the past. So how is lead actor Michael B. Jordan in the role as John Kelly? He have no problems at all portraying a man who seeks revenge on the men who killed his wife and child. The thing i especially like about Michael is that he actually looks very serious in this role, and that fits well with the portrait of John, as he is grieving the tragic death of his family. If you want a film like this one to be effective, you have to make sure you have a serious portrait of the main character. We have other great performances in this film from legendary actor Guy Pearce and Jamie Bell ( who does not remember him from the British war horror movie Deathwatch? A must see, pick it up on DVD ). I have to mention actress Jodie Turner-Smith as the character Karen Greer. The scenes with her and Michael B Jordan, includes some of the best dialogue conversations, and i feel that Jodie really tried to give an honest portrait of this character. The action scenes are well made, and when the speed finally kicks in, we do get some fun violent moments, that especially fans of Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger will enjoy. I would say that there are Jack Ryan vibes in this film, even if the story is different. Director Stefano Sollima ( who have directed several Italian crime TV series, including Sicario 2 ) manage to bring back the classic Tom Clancy story telling that we are familiar with since the 90´s. This may not be the best film adaptation of the Tom Clancy books so far, but i am actually surprised how well this film works as an action film. If you enjoy the novels and the previous film adaptations, then you should check out Without Remorse on Amazon Prime. Definetely a great choice this summer, especially if you are fed up with all the latest Hallmark films, and need some bigger balls.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 22 juli 2021

Midnight In The Switchgrass

Through history, we have a lot of serial killers, who have taken so many innocent lives. These sick individuals have no remorse, and only care about their own needs. I can never imagine how difficult it must be to catch a serial killer, especially at a time when there was no DNA research to be made, and they had to find other evidence, to find the killer. Since there are quite a lot of serial killers out there in history, let´s bring up one of the most classic serial killer cases. And that is of course the case of Jack The Ripper, the brutal serial killer who terrorized London in the year of 1888. Known as Whitechapel Murderer, he is one of the most well known serial killers in history. 5 women are known to be the victims of Jack The Ripper, between 31 August and November 9, in that year of 1888. One of the most interesting details about the serial killer Jack The Ripper, is that we still don´t know who he really was. There are a number of different theories out there, that he could be could be a member of the British royal family, or he could be a doctor. I have been to London 3 times ( so far ), and last time i was there i actually planned to visit the locations where Jack The Ripper killed his victims. Unfortunately, we had to skip that tour for different reasons, but i plan to visit in the future. There is a really good film, based on the Jack The Ripper case, that is called From Hell from 2001. Directed by The Hughes Brothers ( directors of classics such as Menace II Society and Dead Presidents ), this film tells the story of Whitechapel Police Inspector Frederick Abberline ( played really well by Johnny Depp ) investigates the mysterious murders in Whitechapel. From Hell is a really well made slasher horror film, that may not follow all the information about the serial killer case, but definetely give an interesting presentation of the case. There are a number of great acting performances in this film, from legendary actors such as Robbie Coltrane, Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Jason Flemyng annd many others. If you are interested in the investigation of Jack The Ripper, you should watch From Hell on DVD or Blu Ray, and also listen to the very interesting commentary track. You do get to know some very nice details about the making of this film. Earlier this year i was hearing some news about a new serial killer film called Midnight In The Switchgrass. If i understand this correctly, this film is inspired by the story of serial killer The Truck Stop Killer, known as Robert Ben Rhoades. Since i am a big fan of serial killer films, of course i had to see this film on the premiere week. With a great cast, and a very interesting plot, is Midnight In The Switchgrass the film you need to see this summer, or is this a big pile of shit?

FBI agent Karl Helter ( Bruce Willis ) and his partner Rebecca Lombardi ( Megan Fox ) are very close to busting a sex-trafficking ring. When they realise that they have crossed path with a brutal serial killer, they team up with Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Byron Crawford ( Emile Hirsch ), who have been investigating for several years on this case.

Considering that Bruce Willis have had some really bad releases over a couple of years ( especially his sci fi film Breach that i reviewed in May this year ), i will say that he is at least not as horrible as he have been in recent years. I want to hope he will return in good form, and maybe he will if he gets a good role, that includes a great script. That does not mean he is acting good in Midnight In The Switchgrass, but i have seen him do worse ( i wish he could have showed more emotions, but i guess you can´t have everything you wish for ). The biggest surprise of this film, when it comes to acting, is that actress Megan Fox actually deliver a performance that is better than i expected, and trust me, i have seen her weak acting in several films, so this is actually a pleasent surprise for me. She still have a few issues with her acting that needs to be improved, but this is definetely a step in the right direction. Actor Emile Hirsch deliver one of the most solid performances in this film, as agent Byron. This is one of the few characters that you actually care about, since he seems to struggle with his work, not knowing if he can go on. It must be very heavy. on a psychological level, to work on serial killer cases. How do you turn off your emotions off completely, seeing so many dead young women? Music artist and actor Machine Gun Kelly, is not as powerful as i was hoping for, he did a better performancen in the Mötley Crue film The Dirt, but i would say he is at least ok in this film. Lukas Haas as serial killer is actually quite good as the serial killer Peter Hillbourgh. So as a serial killer film, does this film manage to function with such a heavy subject? I would say for the most part yes, thanks to especially some of the actors who take their roles seriously ( except Bruce Willis ). You may not see a lot of blood, or kills, but i think the story still manage to work, especially since this is a serial killer film that´s actually different ( i don´t think i have seen any film inspired by The Truck Stop Killer before ), and that is something i appreciate with this film. Director Randal Emmett ( who is mostly known as a producer on Mark Wahlberg films such as 2 Guns and Lone Survivor ), have made a directorial debut film that may not be original, but actually brings something different into the serial killer genre, by telling a story that is similar to killer Robert Ben Rhodes. Is this film unique in any other way? No, but if you are a fan of serial killer thrillers, i think you should give this film a chance. Midnight In The Switchgrass may not scare you, but possibly entertain you, if you enjoy this genre. 

Rating: DDD

söndag 18 juli 2021

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

The 70´s created some really wonderful horror films, that still stands just as strong today. Depending on what kind of horror film you like, the 70´s offered a big variety for horror fans, where you could find some really wonderful titles. There are several films that you should check out, if you have not seen them. Such as the 1977 horror film The Hills Have Eyes from director Wes Craven, the 1976 film The Omen, and of course the 1978 cult classic Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. When we enter the slasher genre in the 70´s, there is especially one title that i think most horror fans can agree is one of the best. And that is the 1978 film Halloween, from legendary director John Carpenter. When ever i hear especially young people today, who have no idea what film Halloween is, i roll around the floor out of frustration. This is one of those films that you need to know about, or i would not call you a true horror fan. This film tells the story of a young boy called Michael Myers, who murder his teenage babysitter. For the next 15 years, Michael is incarcerated at Smith´s Grove Sanatarium. On October 30, 1978, Michael´s psychiatrist , Dr. Samuel Loomis ( Donald Pleasence ) and his colleague, Marion Chambers ( Nancy Stephens ), arrive at the sanatarium to escort Michael to court to a hearing. But Michael escape, steals a white mask from the hardware store, prepared to kill anyone who gets in his way. Halloween is a very effective classic slasher horror film, where legendary director John Carpenter brought us one of the most iconic horror slasher characters to the big screen, known as Michael Myers. This was also the film that really gave legendary actress Jamie Lee Curtis a lot of respect as the character Laurie Strode. Halloween is a must see film, and i still see this one as one of the better films in the slasher genre. Some of the sequels are alright ( except for Halloween: Ressucrection, really bad ), and i suggest you at least see the first film. Netflix released a trilogy called Fear Street this summer, that are supposed to tell the story from 3 different time periods. I enjoyed the Netflix film Fear Street Part One: 1994, that i reviewed this month. So here we are with the second film in this trilogy, where we go back to the year of 1978. Is this sequel even better than the first film, or is Fear Street Part Two: 1978 a big disappointment?

In 1994, Deena Johnson ( Kiana Madeira ) and Josh Johnson ( Benjamin Flores Jr. ) restrain Samantha Fraser ( Olivia Scott Welch ), Deena´s girlfriend who is possessed, and travel to C. Berman´s ( Gillian Jacobs ) house for help. She survived the Camp Nightwing massacre in 1978. Berman is not sure about letting them in, but agree eventually, where she tells the story of what happened at Camp Nightwing that year.

If you read my review of Fear Street Part One: 1994, you might remember that i noticed that they didn´t really try hard enough to capture the 90´s look, and even made some mistakes with the soundtrack, including songs that did not even exist in 1994, but was released later. In Fear Street Part Two: 1978, they finally got things right. This film does not only capture the feeling of the 70´s with the right colors, the soundtrack match better as well to the time period, and the costume design looks like the late 70´s. The summer camp looks really good, especially capturing the right look of a summer camp, at that time period. And i am so happy that they really tried harder on this film, to capture the 70´s, because that helps the film become more interesting. One of the things that works better with this sequel, is that the characters are actually more interesting in this film. Not that the characters in the 1994 film are not interesting, but in this sequel you actually feel more connected with the main characters, and what they are going through. Now, we have to talk about the actors for a while. Actress Sadie Sink ( who plays the character Maxine "May" Mayfield in Netflix TV series Stranger Things ) is really good as the bullied girl Ziggy Bearman. Ziggy is one of those personalities i think a lot of us can relate to, at her age. We all went through some rough times in our teens, and some of us might have had some really rough moments. So to have a character like Ziggy in this film gives this story a lot more depth, than the first film. Actor McCabe Slye ( who is also in the first Fear Street film ) as Tommy Slater, shows us what a talented actor he is. To be able to turn from a camp leader, to a brutal killer and give us a completely different look, shows that this guy could be one of the better actors in a younger generation of actors. I am really looking forward to see what he does next. The brutal kills reminds me of the Friday The 13th franchise, and this also makes this sequel become even more fun. The conenction to the witch Sarah Fier becomes even more clear in this film, and the mystery surrounding her is explained better in this sequel. Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is not only a better sequel than the first film, it is also a really fun slasher horror film as well. I have to applaud director Leigh Janiak for making this sequel even more entertaining than the first film, that does not happen very often when it comes to sequels. If you enjoyed the first chapter of Fear Street, you have to see this film as well. I have a feeling you won´t be disappointed.

Rating: DDDD

The Parish

There are a lot of things in this world that can be scary. Some people are afraid of clowns, while some people are afraid of Jehova´s Witnesses ( i am one of them who are scared when i see Jehovas, i run as fast as i see them ). I am sure they are wonderful people, who are carrying axes and a chansaiw, that probably means they are just going working in a forest ( i did not see many trees though last time i saw them knocking our door, that´s a bit odd? ) There are very few things that actually scare me in real life, and for those who knows me personally knows what will really scare my pants off. And that is the 2004 music solo album Asshole, by Kiss member Gene Simmons. I will explain why this is one of the things that scare me most, and that is because this album have some of the worst songs i have ever heard. And i really mean that, this is an album that should be avoided at all cost. Just the idea that Gene Simmons made a cover of The Prodigy´s big hit Firestarter, probably gives you an idea of how bad it sounds. So if you plan to scare kids on Halloween this year, my best advice is to give everyone a copy of Gene Simmons solo album Asshole from 2004, and i guarantee they wont sleep for the last 3 years. Speaking of scary, who else thinks that nuns are really scary? I am pretty sure most of us do, and perhaps we should thank The Conjuring 2 for that, when we were introduced to the demonic nun figure, that would start of quite a lot of independent horror films with nuns included. I recently had a look at a list of nun horror films, and i noticed that there are a lot of titles that i have not seen. One independent horror film i did see, wich does include a killer nun, is a horror film called A Nun´s Curse. A surprisingly good low budget film from director Tommy Fairthcloth, and if you want to know more, check out my review of this film in this blog. All i can say is that you should check that film out on DVD. The distribution company Uncork´d Entertainment is known for releasing a lot of good independent horror films over the years, in many different genres. One of the films i have wanted to see since this spring, is a film called The Parish. An independent horror film that actually includes a nun, what could possibly go wrong with that combination? Is this one of the better independent horror films to pick out this summer, or is The Parish a film you don´t need to waist your precious time on?

Liz Charles ( Angela DiMarco ) lost her husband Jason Charles ( Ray Tagavilla ) in war. She have a young daughter Audrey Charles ( Sanae Loutsis ), and they both struggle with the loss of Jason. Liz make the decision to move to a smaller town with her daughter, to start a new life. But as Audrey begin her new school, something does not quite seem right, as if she have found a new friend, that not even the school knows about. And that´s not the only secret....

I am actually quite surprised over The Parish. This is a film i knew very little about, and i am glad i did not even see a trailer. This is a low budget independent film that is quite more serious than most films in this genre. You have the relationship between a mother and her young daughter, who both struggle with the loss of dad / husband. You also have the secrets that daughter Audrey ( played by wonderful young actress Sanae Loutsis ) carry with her, We have to talk about the acting from lead actress Angela DiMarco ( who i am excited to see in the new upcoming film The Rectory ). Considering that this is a film on a limited budget, her performance is actually better than what most actors are in films such as The Parish. And i am very pleased to see that she goes into her character, with such a serious performance. I would have to say that she gives one of the better performances i have seen, in similar films to this one. One interesting detail that is worth mentioning, is that Angela is also the executive producer of The Parish. Actor Bill Oberst Jr. ( who fans of the 2012 low budget film Abraham Lincoln Vs Zombies will recognize, where he played Abraham Lincoln ) plays the character Father Felix. Bill manage to portrait a character, that match very well with the story in The Parish. I also have to mention actress Gin Himmond as Sister Beatrice, who capture the look, and behavior of a creepy nun. The cinematography from Domenic Barbero looks great, and i have to say that Domenic does a really good job, especially capturing the bright colors in certain scenes. The horror scenes may not offer a lot of violence, but what this film does right is skip all the jump scares, and focus more on delivering old school horror instead. It is more about the atmopshere, and the mystery surrounding Sister Beatrice. The CGI effects may be a bit cheesy in certain scenes, but i understand that they had a limited budget to work on, so i can accept that. Director David S. Hogan ( who fans of the TV horror series Z Nation will recognize ) deliver a horror film that may be simple, but actually works thanks to the characters, and the story. Sometimes it is better to use simple methods to make a horror film work, and this is exactly what David does. The Parish is not groundbreaking in any way, but if you love nuns in horror films, this could be a good choice for you this summer. After all, who does not want a demonic nun to make your summer more fun? It sure sounds like a great combination to me.

Rating: DDD

fredag 16 juli 2021

The Banishing

There is something charming with horror films that takes place in the past, especially during World War I and World War II. Not because of what happened during those wars, but i am thinking more about the time period, the beautiful houses, the gardens and the hard working people, who helped families survive through hard times. Back in those days you had to work long hard hours, especially if you worked for wealthy families as maids, a butler or a chef. You would be lucky if you had any day off, because vacation was no guarantee. One of the horror films that i can always watch again, that takes place during World War II, is the 2001 film known as The Others, from director Alejandro Amenábar ( who directed the Spanish thriller film Tesis, well worth watching ). The Others tells the story of mother Grace Stewart ( who is played really good by actress Nicole Kidman ), who lives in a remote country house in Jersey, with her two young children, Anne and Nicolas, who have a rare disease characterized by photosensitivity. Grace hire three new servants-housekeeper Mrs. Bertha Mills ( Fionulla Flanagan ), gardener Edmund Tuttle ( Eric Sykes ) and a mute girl named Lydia ( Elaine Cassidy ). Grace is very worried about the kids being so sensitive to daylight, so she explain to the new servants how important it is not to let daylight in. Mrs. Bertha have worked in this house many years before, as she explains to Grace that many left the house due to the outbreak of tuberculosis. But this house is clearly holding on to a mystery, as Grace discover that they may not be alone, as if someone else lives here as well. The Others is one of those horror films that is still today one of the better supernatural horror films, if i had to pick one title in this genre. It is very well made horror film,  and have some really beautiful cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe ( who also did the cinematography for the 2009 post-apolocyptic film The Road ). The Others is a must watch if you love supernatural horror films. How many of you haved watched the British TV series Dowtown Abbey? Imagine that TV series turned into a horror film, and you might feel right at home with The Banishing. This film actually have one of the actors from Downtown Abbey in the lead role, known as Jessica Brown Findlay. A horror film that takes place during the late 1930´s, is this one of the best horror summer films to check out on VOD, or is The Banishing doomed to be forgotten?

In the year of 1938, Marianne ( Jessica Brown Findlay ) and her husband Linus ( John Heffernam ), a reverend, have moved into Morley Rectory with their daughter Adelaide ( Anya McKenna-Bruce ). Since the marriage between Marianne and Linus, have seen better days, they struggle to make it work. And it´s not getting easier, when there is an evil presence in this house, that´s connected to the past.

Considering that we don´t get to see many horror films these days, that takes place in the late 1930´s like The Banishing does, i do feel that it´s important that films such as this one is made. Not just because of the time period, but the characters in a film like this, really shows how life was during that time. And for a younger generation that does not know much about the history of the 1930´s, this is a great way to show through a horror film. Now, some of you might wonder, does The Banishing work as a horror film? I will have to say yes, and especially thanks to the ghostly parts of the film. This is definetely made from an old school horror perspective, especially where you can feel the evil presence in certain scenes. If you can accept that this is not a brutal horror film in any way, and focuses more on delivering creepy atmosphere, then this might be what you are looking for. Let´s get into some positive details about The Banishing. The costume design looks wonderful, and feels realistic to the time period. I also enjoy the characters, and you get the sense that they really tried to portrait people who lived during the late 1930´s . I especially appreciate the performance from wonderful actress Jessica Brown Findley as the main character Marianne. It becomes very clear that Marianne is struggling with her marriage, and Jessica manage to capture those emotions through her acting. I also feel that Jessica manage to bring a female character, that probably was not allowed to express herself, the way that she does. She is clearly not afraid to say what she feels, and as a woman in the 1930´s, i can imagine that you were not allowed to behave in a certain way, so this also helps the character become more interesting. The horror scenes reminds me a bit of the 2001 horror film The Others, since it´s more about the atmosphere than CGI effects. And the ghostly approach of The Banishing is the biggest reason why this film works, a part from great acting. If you want to make a horror film effective, use simple details as The Banishing does. This is definetely a film for fans of The Others, and other similar ghost horror films. Director Christopher Smith ( who i especially remember for his 2004 film Creep, definetely worth checking out ) manage to balance a classic horror story, and add a few nice details into The Banishing as well. I would probably say that this is one of his better films in recent years, so what are you waiting for? Go check out The Banishing on VOD right now.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 15 juli 2021

Fear Street Part One: 1994

Slasher horror films, have been a part of my childhood. My earliest memory of seeing a slasher horror film was in 1986, when my grandmother Maj rented the American slasher horror film A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy´s Revenge. This was actually the first time i was introduced to the legendary horror icon character Freddy Krueger ( i did see the first film later on ). At that time, i thought A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 was really scary ( i was only 9 years old ), and i especially remember the school bus scene in the beginning of the film, when Freddy Krueger ( brilliant played by legendary actor Robert Englund ), drives the school bus ( as it seems as if he is driving the bus, straight to hell ). A very effective way to begin a film, and that scene still works today. Looking back at A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 today, i can honestly say it´s not the scary slasher i once thought it was. Of course, when you are 9 years old, it´s not so strange why that film affected me the way it did, but i still enjoy the sequel. That this film is also known as the gayiest horror film ever made, is actually quite funny. I can understand why, some scenes are ( very gay ), but that´s part of the charm with this film. As i was getting into my teenage years, i started discovering a lot more slasher films such as Friday The 13th, Halloween, Terror Train, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and many others. I remember that i especially went out to VHS stores to see all the Friday The 13th films, because i loved the horror character Jason Voorhees. One of the Friday The 13th films that i really enjoyed during the late 80´s, was Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives, directed by Tom McLoghlin. This is a really fun slasher horror film, where Jason Voorhees do a lot of nice brutal kills. I remember seeing this film uncut from England, since one of my school friends André managed to get a copy through another friend Jonas, who have travelled to England to get uncut horror films ( since most of them were censored really brutal on VHS releases). A cult classic, to a great slasher franchise. Speaking of slasher films. it seems that the slasher genre continue to find an audience through teenage slashers, just look at the Netflix Tv series Slasher, that have turned out to be popular. I have not seen this TV series so far, but i plan to check it out. I have been reading a lot of promotion for the Netflix produced film adaptation of Fear Street Part One: 1994 ( based on the book on the same name by author R.L. Stine ), a slasher film that is the first in line, with two more coming out this summer. Since i am a fan of the slasher genre, and author R.L. Stine, this seemed like a interesting idea for a slasher film. Is this one of the best slasher films this summer, or is Fear Street Part One: 1994 overhyped in social media?

In 1994, Heather Watkins ( Maya Hawke ), a bookstore employee, is murdered by her friend Ryan Torres ( David W. Thompson ). After murdering her and several mall employees, he is shot dead by the police. The media report the massacre, and Shayside, Ohio, is now known to be the murder capital of Unites States. Many of the Shayside teenagers believe that the witch, Sarah Fier, who placed a curse on the town before being executed for witchcraft in 1666, may be behind these murders. Deena Johnson ( Kiana Madeira ) does not believe in the witch, but as the killings continue with the same masked killer, she is not sure what to believe.

One detail that i found myself thinking about, is a little bit over 9 minutes into the film and the song Im Only happy When It Rains, by legendary American rock band Garbage is being played. A really good 90´s song, just that it was not released in 1994, it came out in 1995 ( i bought the album back in 1995, and played that CD like a maniac ). I get it, they thought the song would match that scene, and i have no big problem with the scene itself, But since we are talking about the year 1994, maybe a song that was released that year ( or earlier ) would have matched even better. The songs that comes later in the film, ( almost ) manage to get the time period right, so it´s not a big issue. Anyway, let´s continue with my review. This film definetely feel inspired by the 1996 film Scream ( that was huge back at that time, from legendary director Wes Craven ), and you can feel the atmosphere of Scream in the slasher scenes ( without copying the film in any way ). There are some good acting in this film, and it is the strongest characters that makes this film work. The characters in this film are very divided, and i especially enjoy two characters. Let´s begin with the main character Deena Johnson ( played by actress Kiana Madeira ), she is a tough girl, with the right kind of attitude, and does not let anyone mess with her. Kiana manage to capture the feelings of this character, in a realistic way. Sheriff Nick Goode ( played by actor Ashley Zuckerman ) is actually one of the few characters who manage to capture the 90´s look through his police costume, and he does a good job with portraying the character. One of the issues i have with Fear Street Part One: 1994, is that this film does not have a lot of 90´s influences thrown into the style of the film. You don´t feel the 90´s as much as i hoped for. Where are the classic VHS stores, comic book stores or Arcade game halls that you could find everywhere in the 90´s ? Not even the school itself looks very 90´s. Considering that TV series like Stranger Things have captured the 80´s so well, i think this film would have been even more fun if they have taken the 90´s influences to a whole different level, and actually tried to capture the time period. As a slasher film though, i would say that Fear Street Part One: 1994 do offer some fun horror moments, that feels like a throwback to classic slasher films. If you are a fan of this genre, i have a feeling that this is a film you want to check out. Definetely worth a watch, if you are in a good mood for bloody kills. Anyone have a kitchen knife i can borrow? I thought i would go and trim some.....bushes outside....i promise, i will return it.

Rating: DDD

måndag 12 juli 2021

Spiral: From The Book Of Saw

I still remember one night in late February in 2005, when i was in Gothenburgh ( the greatest city of Sweden ). Me and a friend of mine have decided to see two films in cinema at the same night. The first film was Meet The Fockers, the sequel to Meet The Parents, that was showing after a pretty successfull theatre run. Entertaining sequel if you enjoyed Meet The Parents, and especially because of the wonderful cast of Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbrara Streisand, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. We were actually supposed to see another film instead, but since the tickets sold out, we decided to see Meet The Fockers instead. Later that night, after we had dinner at a chinese restaurant nearby, we were very excited to see if a horror film called Saw would be as good as some critics have said in their reviews. I have read some articles about a director known as James Wan, and a lot of people were saying that he might be the next big hope for horror films, through his film Saw, As we finally went back into the cinema that night, i did not expect to be taken by surprise. Saw turned out to be the best horror film i have seen in quite some time, and it was actually a lot more clever as well compared to a lot of horror films in Hollywood. Saw especially had one character that would become iconic, thanks to actor Tobin Bell as the character John Kramer. Tobin have managed to make this character unique, in his own tasteful way. The story is pretty simple, photograper Adam Stanheight ( played by actor Leigh Whannell ) awakens in a dilapidated bathtub, with his anchle chained to a pipe. Across the room is oncologist Dr. Lawrence Gordon ( played by actor Cary Elwes ) with a corpse of an apparent suicide victim between them holding a revolver and a microcasette recorder. Both men find a tape in their pockets, and each tape will instruct them how to play certain games. If they do it correctly, one of them will live, if not, both will die. The Jigsaw Killer, a serial killer seems to be behind these games. Saw is still one hell of a good horror film today, 17 years later. Director James Wan knew exactly how to construct this film, from start to finish. The sequels in the Saw franchise have delivered some fun moments, and after the release of Saw 3D in 2010, it seemed to be the end. But Jigsaw returned in 2017, in a film simply called Jigsaw. Had some fun scenes, but did not deliver as the earlier films. And here we are in 2021 with Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, a film that is supposed to be the next chapter in the Saw franchise. Since i am a big fan of the original film, is Spiral a step in the right direction for this franchise, or should this film have been cancelled from being made?

During the 4th of July parade, an off-duty cop Detective Marv Bozwick ( Dan Petronijevic ) chases a thief down a sewer drainage pipe. Attacked from behind by a figure wearing a pig mask, Bozwick wakes up in a trap down in an active subway tunnel. He listens to a recorded message of what he must do to survive. Bozwick tries to follow the rules, but is not able to make it in time, and is killed by a subway train. The next day, Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks ( Chris Rock ) is informed by police Captain Angie Garza ( Marisols Nichols ) that Zeke is getting a new partner called William Schneck (  Max Minghella ). Zeke and Schnek begin to investigate the death of Det. Bozwick. Banks realizes that the murder of Det. Bozwick seems to be similar to what deseased Jigsaw Killer used to do with his victims.

I might as well be honest and say right from the start, if you love the first film of the Saw franchise, i guarantee that you will not be pleased with Spiral. This is not the perfect sequel that some of you might have hoped for. And the biggest problem of all, is the voice of the copycat killer of Jigsaw. Imagine if you were in charge to pick out the best choice, for a similar vioce from legendary actor Tobin Bell ( who is the serial killer John Kramer in the Saw franchise ), would you not pick someone that sounds similar to him, so you know that each game will be creepy, thanks to his voice? In Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, they decided to pick a voice that sounds horrible, and you just don´t buy that this is supposed to be a serious serial killer. It is like they did not really care how the serial killer would sound like, and thought that the killer traps would do the job. But this is one of my issues with Spiral, even if the traps might be ok, you don´t make a Saw film without the creepy voice. Now to the positive details about Spiral. Chris Rock in the lead role as Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks, is actually not that bad in a different role, than we are used to see him do in comedies. I would not say that this is one of his better film roles, but i definetely could see him play a police detective in the future, in a complete different plot than in Spiral. I especially enjoy his dialogue scenes about relationships, it´s like he knows everything there is to know about how women behave in marriage, where have you been all my life? I would definetely hire him as my therapist, no doubt about that. Samuel L Jackson shows up for a while ( in a few scenes ), as Marcus Banks. I do think that Samuel give a performance that match well with his character, and i actually wished that he would have been a bigger part of this film. The traps are actually not that bad, considering i was prepared that they would not be interesting. They are of course nowhere good as the 3 first Saw films, but i can accept them at least. My main problem with Spiral, is that this does not feel like a solid Saw film, and more of an ordinary action horror film instead. And if you want to make a really good Saw film, you need to match the pieces from the previous films, and make them work together in a sequel. And that is something that this film does not do, take the source material serious enough. Director Darren Lynn Bousman directed Saw 2, Saw 3 and Saw 4, so you know he did a good job with those films. But in Spiral, it feels like he tried to do something different that quite can´t match the previous film. If you are a fan of the Saw franchise, i know you want to see this film anyway. But i will be honest and say, Spiral: From The Book Of Saw is a sequel that did not help the franchise go forward, but in the wrong direction instead.

Rating: DD

onsdag 7 juli 2021

Concrete Cowboy

As long as i can remember, i have always been a big fan of British crime drama series. I have watched several really good ones, such as Prime Suspect with brilliant actress Helen Mirren, who plays Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. I would say that Prime Suspect is still worth watching today, even if the series ended quite many years ago. One of my absolute favourite British criminal series of all time, is without a doubt Wire In The Blood, where actor Robson Greene is brilliant as the character Dr. Tony Hill, who is a clinical psychologist and serial offender profiler. Robson Greene manage to give us a character that capture you right from the start, with his bizarre behavior, as he look for the truth in killers. I actually bought the whole DVD box of this series, and even if i have seen all the episodes, i plan to rewatch the whole series at some point. There are several more British crime drama series that are worth checking out, but let´s bring up one specific title, that you might recognize. The British psychological crime drama series Luther with actor Idris Elba turned out to be one of the highlights of the year 2010, when the series premiered. Idris plays Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. We got 5 seasons all together, and this was actually my introduction to Idris Elba as an actor, before i watched him do several films. Idris have made several really powerful acting performances, and one of the best is definetely his performance in the Netflix film Beasts Of No Nation, as the character Commandant, a savage military leader with no remorse. This film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunga, who in my opinion, made one of the best films of 2015 with Beasts Of No Nation. This is not only a powerful film, but also very important for school children to see, Earlier this year i heard that Idris Elba would release his latest film Concrete Cowboy on Netflix. Since i really enjoy his films so far, of course i had to check this film out as well. Is this film another proof of what a superb actor Idris Elba is, or is Concrete Cowboy much worse than anyone would have expected?

15 year old Cole ( Caleb McLaughlin ) is from Detroit and is always getting in trouble, so his mother drives him to Philadelphia to live with his estranged father, Harp ( Idris Elba ). She drops him off on Harp´s North Philadelphia block, and drives away. A neighbor, Nessie ( Lorraine Toussaint ) recognizes Cole, and tells him that his father is at the stables. Cole is introduced into a whole new world, as he get to meet horses, and learn what his father actually does. But since Cole is stuck in criminal behavior, especially in the company of his cousin Smush ( Jharrel Jermone ), Harp knows that Smush is no one his son should be around, but Cole is stuck in his old pattern and go with the flow. As these young men take more risks, Cole could risk loosing everything, including a future.

This is one of those films that shows, no matter what your background is, and no matter how many problems you have in your backpack, you just got to find your way in life, where you feel you can be accepted. And this is exactly what the main character Cole does, learning how life works, and what you have to do to achieve your goals. Cole is a perfect example of the troubling teenagers that we hear about everyday, who feel no hope, and have no future plans. They need a reason to do something that matters, and might help them feel inspired, to find their way in society, outside of the criminal world. Concrete Cowboy show the reality of a broken home, where the main character Cole ( played well by young actor Caleb McLaughlin ) does not feel loved by anyone, not even his mother. And the scene where he confronts his father Harp ( who actor Idris Elba knows exactly how to portrait, by giving this character a lot of depth ), is one of the scenes that is hard not to be affected by. How would you feel if you were 15 years old, and never really lived in a safe home, and only felt at home in the streets? It becomes very clear as we get closer into the home of Harp that he´s never really put an effort to make a real home, since he is so focused on the stables. In one way, the stables have helped him, staying away from trouble, as he clearly wants to help his son on the right path. The acting in this film is for the most part powerful, and there are some interesting characters in this film, that i am sure that a lot of people can relate to. Concrete Cowboy is sort of a Western drama, but takes place in the city streets instead. There may not be any desert areas to ride over the city, but the city streets become their landscape, where they deal with their personal issues. In the past i have seen some really good films that deals with the problems of young teenagers, and even if Concrete Cowboy does not bring a lot of new ideas, i still think this film stands out through the horse related subjects, in the ghetto. I did not know that this film is actually based on a true story, so that does help the story become more interesting. Director Ricky Staub have made a good directorial full feature debut film, that does have something important to say about society. Concrete Cowboy is a film that might actually be appreciated by families, who need a film to inspire them to follow their dreams. And that is especially one of the reasons, why this film is worth checking out.

Rating: DDD

In Memory Of Richard Donner, I Will Review His 1978 Classic Superman This Summer

Cheers everyone!

By now I am pretty sure that movie fans worldwide have heard the tragic news about legendary director Richard Donner. The man who gave us the Lethal Weapon franchise,  The Goonies, The Omen, Ladyhawke, and many other wonderful films. He is no longer with us, and I want to show my respect to him, through his wonderful work as a director in Hollywood. So I will be doing a special review in memory of Richard Donner. 

The film i have chosen to review is not only a classic, but one of the most beloved films in Richard Donner's career, and that is the 1978 film Superman, with legendary actors Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Ned Beatty and Margot Kidder. A film that continue to charm audiences worldwide, and I have not seen it in at least 15 years, so im actually really positive about watching this film again. 

I plan to publish a review of Superman in August, so if you are excited to read my review, you know it will be published in August for sure. New reviews coming up this month so stay tuned, and looking forward to give you some good reviews this summer. 

Cheers from Daniel 

måndag 5 juli 2021

Bram Stoker´s Van Helsing

I have always been fascinated about the history of Vlad The Impaler, known as one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history, and a national hero of Romania. Some of you might know some of the stories that have been told about Vlad, how brutal he was, and that he impaled humans. He was called a sadist and a gruesome murderer. No matter how we look at Vlad today, he is still a very important part of Romanian history. Hopefully in the future, i would love to visit one of the locations, where Vlad ruled his kingdom. I had a co-worker who actually travelled to the castle where Vlad used to live, and it looked so cool from his Facebook pictures. This is definetely one of the trips i have to do, at some point. In the year of 1897, Bram Stoker´s novel Dracula was published, that would become one of the most beloved horror novels of all time. I actually did buy this novel about 21 years ago, and i did read it. Most of you know that it tells the story of Count Dracula, the iconic horror character, that some people still believe is inspired by Vlad The Impaler. Even if author Bram Stoker have said that he did not know much at all about Vlad, as he wrote the book Dracula, he was definetely inspired by Romanian folklores about vampires. Either way, Dracula will always be one of the true classic horror novels in history. The book have inspired a lot of horror films for many years, and one of the best film adaptations ( if you ask me ), is of course the 1992 film version of Bram Stoker´s Dracula from director Francis Ford Coppola. Not only is this one of the most beautiful horror films i have ever seen, but there are so many details to appreciate about this film. The brutality, the costume design, the strong character development, the brilliant cinematography, this is a must see on DVD and Blu Ray. I have been reading online since earlier this year that a film adaptation of Van Helsing would be released in the UK, based on the character Van Helsing, a low budget independent film. Since i am a big fan of vampire films, i just had to pick up a UK DVD copy. Is this a surprisingly good film, or is Bram Stoker´s Van Helsing a big mess, that should have been cancelled from the beginning?

Arthur Holmwood ( Tom Hendryck ) is worried about his fiancée Lucy Westenra ( Charlie Bond ), who have fallen victim to a mysterious illness. Arthur contact Dr John Seward ( Joe Street ), for help. Seward contact his mentor, Professor Van Helsing ( Mark Topping ) to find out what´s wrong with Lucy. Van Helsing quickly confirm that Lucy have been cursed by a vampire, and the only cure is a fresh supply of human blood.

I already knew before i picked up this DVD that there would be a limited budget to this film, and i can accept that if you have good characters, and a story that feels interesting, since this film is based on the story of Van Helsing, the vampire slayer. Let´s start with the positive details about this film. The location of the English countryside fits well with the story, and the old house as well. So it definetely helps the film with the time period, when this film is supposed to take place. The lead actor Mark Topping, who plays the legendary character Van Helsing, is actually the best part of this film. He feels natural in this role, and i actually think he is a good choice for this character. And now we need to discuss some of the problems that i have with this film. Most of the actors don´t do a very good job with their characters. They feel uninspired, and not really interested in portraying their characters in a way, that match well with the story. It´s like they are just there just to finish their job, and go home for a nice cup of tea and watch another episode of Emmerdale. The vampire scenes are not scary, or feel effective. And it is such a shame, considering that they could have made this film interesting with the beautiful location, and the vampire influences. So we have to be thankful for actor Mark Topping, because without his performance as Van Helsing, this film would have falled flat to the ground. I would like to see Mark return as Van Helsing in another film, since i do think he did a good job with the character, Director Stewe Lawson is a well known independent film director, and i have seen one of his films called Hellriser. I will say that Bram Stoker´s Van Helsing is slightly better than Hellrising, but that does not mean that this is still a good film. Considering that he had an oppurtunity to make this film with a legendary character as Van Helsing, there are a lot of details he could have fixed during production. If you are a fan of Bram Stoker´s classic book, only see this film if you love vampires and have nothing else to watch. Otherwise skip this film and see legendary director Francis Ford Coppola´s classic 1992 film instead.

Rating: DD

Hunter Hunter

For some people, hunting is one of the highlights of every year. No matter if you are hunting for moose, deer, hogs, and much much more, i understand that the excitement is always as fun, when it´s time to go out into the forest. I have only been on one hunting trip once, and that was in Värmland in Sweden, i believe it was around 2000 with a former co worker of mine. Since i did not have a hunter licence, or a gun license, i could just sit and watch for the most part. I can say that i did have a lot of coffee, and i did get a lot of relaxing. The guy who did hunt was called Sven, and he had a friend with him as well who also had a hunter license. They were going hunting for several days, but i only joined them for one whole day. That day that we were in the forest, they did not shoot anything. But the day after ( when i was not there ), they did manage to shoot a moose. I don´t know how big it was, but i do remember Sven coming back to work and telling us about his lucky shot. I don´t think i will be getting a hunter license, simply because i am not interested in hunting. If i could hunt with a grenade launcher, then i might change my mind. Why not make hunting more fun, right? Speaking of hunting, there are a lot of films that bring in the subject of hunting, in many different film genres. One of the films that i especially enjoy that includes hunting, is the American horror thriller The Hunt, from director Craig Zobel. I have reviewed this film on my blog, so if you want to know my personal opinion, go check it out. Basically, this film is about a group of humans who are chosen to be hunted by hunters, who love killing humans. We have seen a similar idea in the John Woo classic Hard Target, but The Hunt have a different twist on this idea, with some satirical comedy as well. Definetely worth checking out on VOD, DVD or Blu Ray. Speaking of hunting, i finally had a moment to check out a film called Hunter Hunter on VOD. I have heard some positive reviews on this film, so i was actually excited to check it out. Is this one of the best hunting films in a long time, or should Hunter Hunter be left on the DVD / Blu Ray shelves to dust for good?

Joseph Mersaul ( Dewon Sawa ), his wife Anne Mersault ( Camille Sullivan ), and their daughter Renee Mersaul ( Summer H. Howell ) live in the remote Canadian wilderness, making a meager profit as fur trappers. But the money does not last long, and Anne is frustrated over their lifestyle, not knowing if they will have food on their table. Joseph trains Renee, so she knows how to bait and trap various animals. But their plans are not going so well, when they believe a wolf is eating trapped animals along the line. Joseph decides to go and track the wolf, even if Anne is against this idea. As Joseph continue to track the wolf, he will soon discover something unexpected.

I honestly did not know what to expect from this film, since i only knew very little about the plot. But this is actually a quite interesting thriller, that tries to show the life of a family that tries to live a very protected life, out in nowhere. And this is also a sad story, since you can clearly sense that the mother Anne ( played by wonderful actress Camille Sullivan, who i especially remember from the TV mini series The Disappearance ), is worried about her daughter´s future, and that they have no money at all. You can tell by Camille´s acting that she tries to capture the emotions, of a mother who wish that they had a more civilized life, instead of living out in nowhere. Actor Devon Sawa ( who fans of the first Final Destination film definetely remember ) does one of the best acting performances i have seen him do as the character Mersault. In one way he is a loving father to his daughter Renee ( played really well by young actress Summer H. Howell ), but he also is stuck in the old days, that he does not want to live in an ordinary society. This actually makes this story feel a bit more interesting outside of the hunting scenes, a family in crisis. Just the fact that Renee is 13 years old and does not even go to a puclic school, shows that she could loose a lot of experience in life, and living deep inside a forest will not help her future. How will she know what she would like to be when she grows up, when all she knows is hunting with her father? How will she learn an ordinary life as a teenager, when she is not allowed to go in an ordinary school? And then we have the fear that this family is living with, as they believe that some animal is out there, ready to hurt them. Does this beast really exist, or is this something else waiting for them out there? You could say there are two stories here, but they actually match them well together. Director Shawn Linden give us a thriller that is not only well made, but he also give us an honest portrait of how rough life can be, if we decide not to live in an ordinary society. Hunter Hunter is especially interesting from a psychological level, through the eyes of this family. Definetely worth checking out this summer, if you are looking for a thriller that actually have something important to say.

Rating: DDD

A suggestion, if you want to see Hunter Hunter on Blu ray, pick up a copy from Shout! Factory, just copy the link below to get to the web page:


fredag 2 juli 2021

30 Years Anniversary Review Of Double Impact

The year of 1991, a magical time for a number of reasons. This was the year when American metal band Metallica released their biggest selling studio album, simply called Metallica. Everyone knew how to sing Enter Sandman back in those days, that even in my school you would see teenagers headbang like they overdosed on Energy drinks. One of those albums that Metallica fans still love, 30 years later, and i guarantee new fans will love the album as well. American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers released their fifth studio album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, that became one of their biggest selling albums of all time. I can still remember at a school play, where they did a dance number to the Red Hot Chili Pepper song Give It Away ( from that specific album ), it was one of the strangest dance numbers i have ever seen. I am not sure who came up with the dance choreography, but it was definetely different, and actually matched the song in some strange way. It was a dance number for the summer school show ( that they did every year, where different talents would show their skills ), so when ever i hear Give It Away on radio, i still remember that dance number for a good reason. 1991 was especially a great year for action films with releases such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Last Boy Scout, Point Break, Stone Cold, Showdown In Little Tokyo, The Perfect Weapon, Out For Justice and many more. A list like this is something you don´t see in action films in recent times. It is like the action genre does not have the same balls as the 90´s action releases had. At least i am happy to be a part of the generation that could actually see these films on VHS during that time, it was definetely magical. Since i was going through my Van Damme collection ( i pretty much have all of his films on DVD and Blu Ray ), i was reminded that his film Double Impact turns 30 years this year. I felt that it would be a perfect time to revisit this film, and see if i still have fun with Double Impact, after so many years. Is this film even more fun 30 years later, or has this film aged too much and lost some of the cinema magic?

In 1966 business partners Paul Wagner ( Andy Armstrong ) and Nigel Griffith ( Alan Scarfe ) open the Hong Kong Victoria Harbour tunnel. Paul attends with his wife and their twin infant sons, Chad and Alex. After the celebration, the family is followed home by their bodyguard, Frank Avery ( Geoffrey Lewis ), whom they dismiss. Once he leaves, a Triad hit squad follows them. Paul and his wife is brutally murdered, as Paul´s maid is able to escape with one of the twin brothers Chad, while Alex is left in the car. Frank manage to get Alex while he is wounded in the gun battle, and escapes. The maid leaves Chad at a Hong Kong orphanage, while Frank take care of Alex on his own. 25 years later, Chad ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ) and Frank are running a successfull martial arts dojo in Los Angeles, when Frank tells Chad that they must travel to Hong Kong to do " business ". In Hong Kong, they go to a mahjong parlor, where Chad is suddenly knocked out, by a man who looks just like him. As Chad wakes up he finds out that he have a twin brother called Alex, and Frank tells the story of how their parents was brutally murdered, 25 years ago. Frank try to convince both brother´s to join, and seek revenge on Nigel Griffith and his criminal gang.

Looking at Double Impact after so many years, i especially realized two things:

* Van Damme acting as two twin brothers, is actually quite charming. I would not say he is acting fantastic, but he does bring some fun moments with the cheesy dialogue.

* The action scenes still works surprisingly good, and when an action film made 30 years ago works better than some action films made in recent time, you know that they must have done something right.

This does not mean that Double Impact is the best action film in Van Damme´s career, but i would definetely say that it is one of his classics. Compared to Bloodsport, Cyborg, Kickboxer and Lionheart, this film is definetely more focused on delivering a different kind of action film. Double Impact is more focused on telling a revenge story, from a family perspective, with a different twist. What would you do if you found out that your parents were murdered, would you go all the way and revenge their death? You also get to see more gun shootings in Double Impact, compared to some of Van Damme´s earlier films. What i think especially makes this film different, is to see Van Damme play two different characters, is actually a fun idea. And i understand he was inspired to do this after seeing the David Cronenberg film Dead Ringers, that tells the story of twin gynecologists Beverly Mantle and Elliot Mantle ( both played by legendary actor Jeremy Irons ). Definetely worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of legendary director David Cronenberg. I can actually understand why Van Damme wanted to do something different with Double Impact, since he have already at this point in his career, made films that was similar to his big breakthrough success Bloodsport, and i have to say that Double Impact is what we needed to see. I actually appreciate this film more today in 2021, than what i did the first time i saw the film back in 1992 ( that was when i first saw it on VHS ). There are some really funny dialogue scenes in this film ( especially from twin brother Alex ) that actually work for some strange reason. Maybe it´s the atmosphere of Hong Kong, and the characters, that makes the dialogue match well. I have to mention it is very nice to see legendary martial art action actor Bolo Yeung do some nice looking fighting scenes, and we also have legendary actor Geoffrey Lewis here who does a nice performance. If you love action, fighting and Van Damme, Double Impact is a film that will please you in many different ways. Director Sheldon Lettich knows how to bring out the best in Van Damme, especially in the action scenes where he really get to shine. I personally feel that this film deserves a bit more respect in the world of action classics, and should be mentioned more often. If you want true 90´s nostalgia, get Double Impact on DVD or Blu Ray this summer, and i guarantee you will have one hell of a good time. Double Van Damme on the big screen? I can´t imagine anyone can say no to that.

Rating: DDDD

torsdag 1 juli 2021

Jakob´s Wife

Vampires, the fearless creatures of the night, who feeds on human blood. In Hollywood we have seen so many classic vampire films, starting off with legendary actor Max Schreck in the 1922 film Nosferatu. But it was in the year of 1931 when a film called Dracula took the world by storm, with legendary actor Bela Lugosi who played the iconic character Count Dracula. I have seen the 1931 film, many years ago on VHS ( i believe i saw it in 1993 ). It is quite a unique horror film, considering that it was very different from many horror films of that time, and Bela Lugosi really performed wonderful as Count Dracula. But it was the 1958 film Dracula, that i really fell in love with the iconic horror character Dracula, played brilliant by legendary actor Christopher Lee. Directed by Terence Fisher ( who directed a lot of horror films for the legendary British film production company Hammer Films ), this film tells the story of Jonathan Harker ( John Van Eyssen ), who in the year of 1885, travel to the castle of Count Dracula ( Christopher Lee ). At the castle, Jonathan is startled by a young woman who claims that she is a prisoner, and needs his help. Dracula enters the room, greets Jonathan and guides him to his room. The real reason why Jonathan have travelled to this castle, is to kill Count Dracula. The 1958 film Dracula is still today one of the horror films i can watch again, and still feel the tension in the air as Christopher Lee deliver a performance that is magical. I still feel that he is the best at portraying Dracula, even if i loved Gary Oldman´s performance in the 1992 film Bram Stoker´s Dracula. Christoper Lee portrayed Dracula in 6 more films, all worth checking out. Speaking of great actors, there is one iconic horror actress that deserves more respect in the horror community, for all the work she have done over the years. And that is legendary actress Barabra Crampton ( most known for her legendary performances in films such as Re-Animator and From Beyond ). For quite some time i have heard some positive reviews of her film Jakob´s Wife, a vampire horror film, that seems to be different than most films in this genre. I finally got a chance to see the film on VOD, to see if this film is as good as some critics have said. Is this one of the best horror films of 2021, or have i had too high expectations of this film?

Pastor Jakob Fedder ( Larry Fessenden ) have been married to his wife Anne Fedder ( Barbara Crampton ) for over 30 years. Anne have not realised it yet, but as she goes on with her ordinary day life that includes work out videos and gardening, nothing else is really happening in her life. It´s like time is standing still, and she needs to do something else. She talks to her old friend Tom Low ( Robert Rusler ), who she have known from teenage years. After a slightly flirty meal, Anne and Tom go to check out the site of a community project that Tom is booked to work on. As they are close at having an affair, Anne and Tom are both attacked by a vampire. Anne is still alive, as she returns home to her husband, and he notice that she is no longer herself.

If you love the 1985 film Fright Night, then you are going to love Jakob´s Wife. These films may not have a lot in common, but i feel like Jakob´s Wife may have found a little bit of inspiration from Fright Night, and that is one detail that i i really appreciate with this film. But there is so much more to be happy about when it comes to Jakob´s Wife. The practical make up effects looks absolutely wonderful on the vampires, it is like going back to the old school vampire films of the past. You really feel that they wanted to show their respect to classic vampire films in Jakob´s Wife, and the result is far better than i expected. They actually look creepy, just like vampires used to do in classic films. We have to talk about the performance of legendary actress Barbara Crampton. I can honestly say, that her performance in this film, is without a doubt one of the best acting performances i have seen this year so far. Her portrait of the character Anne Fedder is absolutely fantastic, and i have to admit that this may be her best acting performance in her career so far. You really feel that Barbara Crampton went really deep into her character, to be able to give the performance that she does in this film. Her emotions through facial expressions, and body language, shows what an amazing actor she is. I really think she deserves to be nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in Jakob´s Wife, and i really hope that this could become reality. Actor Larry Fessenden who plays the character Pastor Jakob Fedder, also give a wonderful acting performance. This may actually be the best acting performance i have seen from Larry so far in his film career, and i have seen quite many of his films. As a horror film, Jakob´s Wife manage to balance the vampire elements in a very clever and simple way, by telling a story that feels both fascinating, and beautiful as well. And the portait of a married couple in crisis, match very well with the characters, as they go through a completely different phase in their marriage, as Anne feeds on blood. Jakob´s Wife is not only the best horror film i have seen this year so far, but director Travis Stevens may be one of the few directors who have taken the vampire genre very serious, and made one of the most beautiful vampire films in the last 29 years ( since Francis Ford Coppola´s Dracula film in 1992 ). The year is only halfway through, and i can say that Jakob´s Wife is definetely on my list of best films of 2021, a must own on DVD or Blu Ray.

Rating: DDDD

A Christmas Movie Review July Tribute To Tony: Christmas On My Mind

There are some friends in life that match you so well, that you can talk to them about anything, no matter what the subject is. You can sit there and listen to Sting Greatest Hits, and know that we both feel the same way, that with Sting you feel like coming home, to the place you love more than anything. And this is exactly how i felt about Tony when i met him, 17 years ago. We had no idea we both loved Sting, but we did, and that is why we matched so well. But there was one secret Tony was hiding that i did not know, that every July in summer, he celebrate Christmas In July. Tony is obsessed with celebrating Christmas In July, and i can give you some perfect images of that . Last time we visited his home in July in 2020, he had 12 different Santa Claus statues outside the front gate of his house, christmas lights that covered the whole house, a fake snow machine, pouring out fake snow where he used to run around, hugging the fake snow. He also had the Hanson christmas album playing in the background ( wich i can understand why, no one has ever made a better christmas album than Hanson, that´s just the truth ). So one day when i came home to Tony ( i believe it was July 15th last year, he already prepared for us to dress up as Santa Claus and sing christmas songs for his neighbors. Let´s just say that the neighbors locked their doors, they probably thought that we members of Feministiskt Intiativ, the most religious political party ever in Swedish history. So we ended up skating on his own built ice skating ranch. I can understand why Tony loves to celebrate Christmas In July, it is cozy, it is relaxing and you don´t have to stress. You can just enjoy the christmas spirit. So a couple of weeks ago, as Tony started to prepare for his Christmas In July event, he asked me to review one of his favourite Christmas films of all time, and that is the christmas movie called Christmas On My Mind from 2019. I have never heard about this film before, but Tony said that i have to see it, and review it as well. So i finally sat down to watch the Hallmark film, to see if it is as good as Tony have said. Could this be the next christmas classic, or is Christmas On My Mind about as fun as listening to The Secrets Of Mathmetics from Oxford University?

Lucy Lovett ( Ashley Greene ) have just picked up her wedding dress, and on her way down the street, she slips and hit her head on the icy street. Her memory is blurry, as she can´t really remember what have happened for the last 2 years. Not knowing who her future husband really is, she must find a way to get her memory back.

I know Tony you love this film, and i know you have seen it more than most films ( if i remember correctly you saw this film 15 times, since it was released ). But i have to be honest, writing this review.

Christmas On My Mind is a very typical Hallmark film, with everything that you could guess for, such as a lot of romance, fancy clothes, lots of christmas decorations, and a holiday spirit in the air. And if you love this, then you will definetely enjoy Christmas On My Mind, just like Tony does. My problem with this film, is that it really does not deliver more than the usual concept of a Hallmark film. Maybe i have seen too many films that reminds me of this film, or maybe i had very high expectations, since Tony loves this film so much. I can understand why Tony enjoy this film in some ways, there are some charming actors in this film such as Alvin Sanders ( who some of you will recognize from the TV series Riverdale ), and we have to mention wonderful actress Donna Benedicto ( that fans of TV series Supergirl will recognize for sure ). Lead actress Ashley Greene ( known as Alice Cullen in the Twilight franchise ) does bring some charm with her character Lucy Lovett, but other than that you can´t really connect to her character a lot. She looks fantastic, and i am sure she is a wonderful person, but as the lead character, she does not give a strong performance. What about male actors Andrew W. Walker ( who played Cole Harper in Sabrina The Teenage Witch ) and Preston Vanderslice ? I would probably say that they are ok, but don´t expect any powerful acting scenes with any of them. The idea behind the story of main character Lucy, who hit her head and loose her memory is actually not a bad idea. This could have made the christmas story a bit different, if they only used the plot in a different way than most Hallmark films. Unfortunately, they choose to go in a typical Hallmark direction, without any surprises. Director Maclain Nelson ( who was executive producer on the Mythica films ) deliver a christmas film that will most likely be loved by Hallmark addicts. It´s not an awful film, but does not have a lot to offer to the audience. Christmas On My Mind may always be close to Tony´s heart, but i could easily skip this one and choose a christmas movie, that´s more in my taste.

Rating: DD

Here is the IMDB page for Christmas On My Mind if you are interested knowing more about the film: